Yom Kippur Wrap-Up, Part II: Vomit and Highways and Bikes, Oh My!

Hello, my loyal readers-did you enjoy Part I of our Yom Kippur wrap-up? I was hoping to actually get to Part 2 before another holiday hit but, hey, that’s Tishrei for you. It’s Friday night of Sukkot and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by blogging from the sukkah. (I don’t actually have one but still, I can’t think of a better way.)

Just a few quick-hit thoughts from the Day of Atonement and Bicycles:

  • Among the friends I hung out with was Molly (ech omrim “weird sentence structure”? I think I’m forgot English.) Unfortunately her husband, my friend Mike, had to miss the festivities. And by “festivities”, I mean shoving food down our throats twice with twenty-five hours of hunger in between. So where was Mike? On the Egyptian border, doing miluim (reserve duty). When I heard that he was there for Rosh Hashana as well, my only response was, “Man, that SUCKS.” As people wiser than me have said, “that’s life in Israel. Somebody’s got to do it.” Barring a major surprise and very blogworthy event, that person will never be me. (And if it is, G-d help us all.)
Me, about 10 minutes before Kol Nidre.
  • At dinner, I joked with my friends about fake Yom Kippur pick-up lines, meaning lines that will never see the light of day. A few:
    -“On this Day of Atonement, I just want to apologize for not letting you have this body.”
    -“You’ve heard of the Yizkor service? Well, you’re never gonna forget tonight.”

    Aaaaaand, the winner of the biggest laugh of the evening. This one is Rated R so skip to the next bullet point if you think your Rebbe wouldn’t approve. Last chance, nice Orthodox ladies….SKIP TO THE NEXT BULLET ALREADY!!!
    -“Well….there is one thing I eat.” (People laughed, what do you want from me? So much for our G-rating. Wait, is my mother reading this?)

  • I went to a synagogue with several friends who went for varying reasons. Some of us wanted to go pray, some went out of some sense of obligation and tradition (who also wanted to pray….I would say I fall into this category (it was a priority for me to go but apparently not enough to also go the following day)), and some went out of obligation but probably didn’t so much want to be there. Because I was neither willing to shove my fancy clothes in my backpack nor sweat my falalel balls off wearing them from Jerusalem, I came in Israeli-shul. (Semi-formal, business casual, Israeli-shul. Get it?) My American roots were a bit embarrassed at going to Kol Nidre services in jeans and a non-button shirt but, hey, everybody has an off-day. When I start wearing dragon shirts to weddings, please plan an intervention. Interventzia.
  • At one point, three of them were all asleep in a row. Who says young people don’t connect to religion? Shame I couldn’t take a picture, or at least write the “Al Chet” prayer on their faces.
Ashamnu….bagadnu…gazalnu….I fell asleep in public.
  • The place was packed. Our friend Margo arrived late and with no other options, ended up sitting in the back on the floor. About halfway through, I decided to join her and give my seat to fellow late-arriving friend Shirley. Aside from the constant standing and sitting, it was fine. On the way out, I walked into the bathroom only to discover it was unisex. There I was, with Shirley in the john, on Yom Kippur. I can’t say that’s ever happened before.
  • Walking home, we pass a woman walking her dog. I jokingly point to it and say,
    Me: “Look, it’s a Jewish dog!
    Woman: “
    No, it’s Russian.
    Me: “Is its mother Jewish?”
    Woman: “I don’t know.”Hilarious. Welcome to Israel.

    We end up at Kikar Rabin which is always fun on Erev Yom Kippur. Who wants to watch 3 year-olds on bikes collide? (Raising hand.) If people think the roads are dangerous, just hang out on Ibn Gvirol for ten minutes and watch all Baby Shmuliks on training wheels. It’s too bad we couldn’t eat; it would be fun to watch eighty thousand kids riding around in a 10 foot radius while munching on popcorn.

  • An hour later, we move on to Dizengoff Street where the crowd’s a bit older. As we sit in the middle of the intersection, a few of us thought, “too bad we can’t do this drinking beer.” (Forget the popcorn, the beer would really be fun.) At some point, somebody notices the mammoth pile of dog vomit on the side of the road which the owner didn’t bother to clean up, beginning everybody’s favorite game: “Who’s Gonna Step in the Barf?” Nobody unfortunately; it got cleaned up eventually.(And on that note, I’ve often wondered, whose job is it to clean up vomit? Let’s say somebody just ralphs on Ben-Yehudah Street, right in the middle. Not near any particular store or restaurant. how long does it sit there and who eventually cleans it? This question seems less interesting now that I live in an urban city with street cleaners; I remember it being more fascinating in the suburbs where there was really nobody around to handle it. Can someone test this out and get back to me?)
  • Apparently it rained for two minutes around 8 AM, always a newsworthy event in Israel. Did you know that there’s a name for the first and last rain of the season? The first is “hayoreh”. The last? “Billy Bob”. Ok, dammit-what’s it called again? I want to say “achbarosh” but that’s a rat. (Two days later: “malkosh”. Thanks, Twitter.)
  • The rest of the day, I slept, walked on the Ayalon (see this), and sat around like a hungry zombie until breaking the fast that evening. And on that note, do people want to weigh in on the annoying changing-of-the-clock before Yom Kippur here in Israel? As far as I’m concerned, 25 hours is 25 hours; it’s a pain to have the sun go down so early. (And isn’t the fast supposed to be challenging/difficult anyway?) My fellow non-Charedi friend Dov swears it makes sense; I don’t get it. Extra hour on the front end, extra hour on the back end….what’s the difference?

And there we have it, another year, another inscribing. Guess I better start working on my Sukkot post. See you next year on the Ayalon.

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